Overview: Amtrak and the NEC commuter railroads aim to continuously improve the rider experience at NEC stations. In 2009, Amtrak was awarded an ARRA grant that funded upgrades to the lighting systems on all platforms served by its Acela Express services. This work benefited not only Amtrak passengers, but all riders at these stations. Amtrak intends to build on this work by replacing the remaining platform lighting at major NEC stations, including New York Penn Station, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, Baltimore Penn Station, and Washington Union Station, while also making targeted repairs to the platform structures.
In addition to these investments and to the larger-scale projects at the major hubs of Washington, New York, and Boston, the following stations have specific needs:
Baltimore Penn Station serves as the through rail hub of the city of Baltimore, serving Amtrak and the MARC Penn Line. Officials have identified a set of high-priority investments to improve the passenger experience and support expanded train operations. Investments would include the redesign and reconfiguration of passenger facilities and track layout at the station, as well as key structural improvements to the station, including the roofing, flooring, and heating and air-conditioning systems.
Philadelphia 30th Street Station serves over 29,000 daily SEPTA and Amtrak passengers and, for Amtrak, is the third busiest stop on the NEC. Completed in 1933, the station is perhaps the “crown jewel” of Philadelphia’s transportation system and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite its historical prominence and aesthetic value, the station’s faÃ§ade has begun to deteriorate, creating a serious safety concern for the railroad and the users of the station. Amtrak officials are proposing a $60-million project to repair the station’s stone faÃ§ade, which would ensure its structural integrity and restore its 1930s grandeur.
Providence Station, a relatively modern facility, opened in 1986 with a realignment of the NEC through the downtown. However, the building has not received a significant upgrade since that time. The station serves Amtrak and the MBTA/RIDOT Providence Line between Boston and Wickford Junction. Amtrak and the city of Providence propose investments to upgrade the station building and its surroundings, while bringing the station structure and the rail tunnel serving the station, located at the base of the Rhode Island State House, to a state-of-good-repair. Proposed investments would also include improving elevators and stairs, fire safety facilities, and connections for transit riders and pedestrians. This work would enhance the passenger experience and ensure the long-term reliability of service at the station.